Is it a sin to get a tattoo?

Can a Christian have a tattoo - What does the Bible say

What Does the Bible Say About Tattoos As A Christian?

Tattoos are more popular than ever in many parts of the world. The number of people with tattoos has increased tremendously in recent years. In Germany, every fourth person is tattooed. Tattoos are no longer just for delinquents or rebels. The rebellion historically associated with tattoos is becoming increasingly insignificant.

The New Testament says nothing about whether or not a believer should get a tattoo. Hence, we cannot say that tattooing is a sin. Because the Bible says little about this, tattooing falls into a "gray area" category and believers should follow their beliefs on the matter and respect those who may have different beliefs.


Here are some general biblical principles that can apply to getting a tattoo:


  • Children should honor and obey their parents (Ephesians 6: 1-2). It is biblically untenable for a minor to have himself tattooed in violation of the wishes of his parents. Tattoos that arose out of rebellion are sinful.


  • "Outer decoration" is not as important as developing the "inner self" and should not be the focus of a Christian (1 Peter 3: 3-4). A person who wants a tattoo to attract attention or arouse admiration has a vain, sinful focus on himself.


  • God sees the heart and our motivation for everything we do should be to glorify God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Motivations for a tattoo like "conform", "stand out", etc. lag behind the glory of God. The tattoo itself may not be a sin, but the motivation to get it could be.


  • Both our bodies and souls have been redeemed and belong to God. The believer's body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6: 19-20). How much change in this temple is appropriate? Is there a limit that must not be exceeded? Is there a point where the spread of tattoos on a body ceases to be art and becomes sinful mutilation? This should be a matter of your personal reflection and honest prayer. No one else can do that for you.


  • We are ambassadors of Jesus and bring God's message into the world (2 Corinthians 5:20). What message does the tattoo send, and will it help or distract from representing Christ and sharing the gospel?


  • What does not come from faith is sin (Romans 14:23), so whoever gets a tattoo should be fully convinced that it is God's will for him or her.


Tattoos in the Old Testament


We cannot leave the discussion about tattoos without looking at Old Testament law that prohibits tattoos: “When you mourn a dead man, don't cut your hair around your temples because of it; Don't trim your beards, don't cut your skin and don't get tattoos! I am the Lord. “(Leviticus 19:28). The reason for the prohibition of tattoos in this section is not given, but it is likely that tattooing was a pagan practice associated with idolatry and superstition. It was probably customary for the pagans to mark their skin with the name of a false god or with a symbol honoring an idol. God required that His children should be different. As He reminded her in the same verse, "I am the Lord". The Israelites were His; they were his work, and they should not have the name of a false god on their bodies. While New Testament believers are not subject to Mosaic Law, from this command we can infer the principle that if a Christian chooses to get a tattoo, it should never be done for superstitious reasons or to promote secular philosophy.

The bottom line is that a tattoo is not a sin, per se. It is a matter of Christian freedom and should be based on biblical principles and rooted in love.

Our pastor is also tattooed, so we are not against it, as long as these principles that are in the Bible are followed.


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